03/21/2014 02:04 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

What Charities Are Saying Instead of "Get out Your Wallet"


One million people just got the same tweet: "Watch a Movie. Change the World." @NelsonMandela is on to something.

If you haven't yet heard about FilmRaise -- the new fundraising platform for charities and filmmakers -- it's only a matter of time. Funny enough, that's the only thing they're asking of you: your time.

Did you catch that? All you have to do is watch an award-winning film and your choice of several world-class charities gets the resources they need to do their important work. For once, a charity isn't asking for a donation. Refreshing, isn't it?

Right now FilmRaise is showcasing Beyond Right and Wrong -- a film with a powerful message of peace, forgiveness and reconciliation. But this post isn't a spoiler alert. The film speaks for itself.

No, this post is an invitation to think differently about how you can have an impact; to see why Operation Kids decided to support FilmRaise and to see if you would have done the same.

So why did Operation Kids get behind FilmRaise?

Let's start with this:

If you had to give $10 or $100 or $1,000 away and the only condition was to make a difference -- to have the greatest impact -- how would you spend it? (Add as many zeros as you want and your answer won't change as much as you think.)

Don't jump ahead. Think about it for a sec. Your decision makes a difference. What's it going to be?

At Operation Kids, we manage an impact fund and must choose the highest and best use of those limited resources. It's not a choice we take lightly and I don't think you would either. It's a stewardship; these funds are considered sacred.

You're in the same position, whether you have $10 or $10 million: what should you do with your limited resources?

Charities understand this and therefore compete, sometimes viciously, for your donation.

Now, if you're passionate about a cause, I get that. It's a highly personal issue. But I'm sure you've noticed: if there's a cause, there's a charity ... or two, or three, or so many it's hard to know who's who. You're hit up from all sides: Save the Whales? Save the Children. Save the Planet! Operation Smile? Operation Kids. Operation Adopt-a-Pet! And don't forget the Historical Preservation Society (all proud members please stand up)!

Thus, a common complaint from donors: "Why can't these charities work together?" "Think of the impact they could have if only they would collaborate."

It sounds nice. But to have charities collaborating in the same space is the holy grail of the industry! Rarely do you see that kind of unified front. And that leads to more duplicated efforts, wasted resources and intense competition for your donation.

That is one of the biggest reasons why we decided to get behind FilmRaise. It promotes a compelling film, yes. It's a positive, disruptive platform, yes. But the biggest indicator of powerful change potential for me was to look at the organizations it has gathered under its umbrella and how it enables them to collectively work with the public to serve their individual causes in a new way.

For 15 years Operation Kids has vetted and endorsed the best-in-class charities for children. We know a worthy organization when we see one. And somehow FilmRaise was able to bring together 10 world-class organizations, all under the same banner.

These are the change-makers, the boots-on-the-ground, the passionate men and women working in some of the most desperate areas of the world to bless the lives of families and children.

We're talking about the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Malala Fund, PeacePlayers International, Women for Women International, Free the Children, and others - all playing for the same team!

Breaking the 4-minute mile barrier of philanthropy

For decades running a 4-minute mile was like a quest for the lost city of El Dorado. Sure it sounded like a worthy pursuit, but you could never really get there. It was simply impossible. Then what happened? Roger Bannister beat it, by the smallest margin (3 min 59.4 sec). Once the barrier was broken, the floodgates opened wide and that mark was achieved again and again. Bannister's record lasted a mere 46 days. Nowadays, to be competitive, you must shoot beyond that mark.

Traditional charity is like a four-minute mile. It's a mentality that's been tough to break. Even while the world continues to globalize, the old charity models stubbornly persist and in so doing prevent organizations and philanthropists from embracing a better way.

The best charities know that traditional philanthropy is starting to sputter out and, in runner's speak, "hit the wall". They know that to survive (and even thrive) in today's global market, they need a new model.

At Operation Kids, we want to redefine impact by supporting those that seek to break the 4-minute mile. We champion the risk takers, the innovators, the new metrics of success.

And we're encouraged by what we see. It's not by chance that in the last 10 years we've seen an explosion of new and exciting approaches to social innovation. If you keep your eyes open, you'll see them too. FilmRaise is one such approach.

So that's our reason. With FilmRaise, we saw a chance to support a new way of thinking, a special combination of factors that together are so much more than a sum of their parts. We saw the opportunity to bring together a fundamental message the world needs to hear with a way for charities to collaborate with you to make an impact without asking you to open your wallets. Filmraise was a no-brainer.

Last question: would you have done the same? Before you answer you probably better see the movie. Then maybe you'll see why we really decided to support FilmRaise. In the words of T.O. (Terrell Owens): "Getcha popcorn ready!"

This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and Beyond Right & Wrong in conjunction with the Beyond Right & Wrong One Million Viewer campaign, an effort to garner one million unique online views for Beyond Right & Wrong and, thanks to generous donations from Operation Kids Foundation and Share the Mic, support charities at the same time. Find out more about the Beyond Right & Wrong One Million Viewer campaign here. Read all posts in the series here.